Acoustic panels are squares or sheets of sound-absorbent materials placed on walls to eliminate or reduce unwanted noise.
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Applications of Acoustic Panels
Acoustic panels are used anywhere unwanted noise needs to be eliminated and echoes and reverberations cut back, such as a recording studio or music room, in which the quality of sound is important. Common applications for the installation of acoustic panels are in any sort of room with a high ceiling or large open space, like churches, theaters, lecture halls, gyms, pools, or restaurants. Noisy environments like busy coffee shops and offices also often use acoustic panels to make the decibel range in the room far more tolerable for the persons within the space. If no sound was being absorbed, the sound waves would be bouncing and reflecting around the room, making it unpleasantly loud. Another common use of acoustic panels is in industrial plants. For example, water treatment facilities or factories use them in areas where machinery is loud and needs to be quieted because of worker hearing and safety.
Acoustic Panel Design and Customization
Acoustic panels are fabricated from soundproofing materials to reduce echoes, buffer sound, and deaden sound waves. Panels are designed to absorb sound waves before the waves can reverberate as noise pollution back in the direction from which they came. Compared to a wall or other hard surfaces, acoustic panels are far more absorbent of sound waves. Construction of the panels consists of three main parts: the frame, the sound absorbent internal material, and the outer covering. The frame is usually square or rectangle and made of wood. The interior is composed of a material specifically designed to absorb sound vibrations and waves, such as rock fiber wool. Porous surfaces, on the other hand, are partially penetrated by sound waves, which get trapped and are therefore absorbed into the material. Many acoustic panels are then covered in fabric for aesthetic purposes.
Coverings of acoustic panels can be customized for a room’s interior decorative purposes. Venues such as churches, restaurants, and coffee shops still require aesthetic cohesiveness, so panels are designed to blend in with, or complement, the existing décor. The panels can vary in size and in the number of panels applied in a certain space. Common thicknesses are 2” and 4”, and this can be chosen depending on the scale of the space and the required amount of noise reduction. Panels are often fitted with a backing from a material such as wood or a light polymer for easy wall hanging (often screws are the only hardware requirement), and they can be used in conjunction with other sound proofing elements, such as curtains, flooring, and ceilings.